Sen. John McCain’s secret trip this weekend to meet with rebel leaders in Syria wasn’t a surprise to the White House and the State Department.
“[McCain] made [President Obama] generally aware of his trip,” Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director said on Tuesday’s Daily Rundown. “We look forward to hearing from him, a follow-up as to the developments he saw on his trip.”
McCain became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since its devastating civil war began over two years ago, and he’s been one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration for more action in the country.
But Palmieri said that while they were open to hearing from Obama’s former 2008 election foe, it doesn’t necessarily mean the administration would seek to adopt any the proposals McCain has been pushing for, such as sending weapons to opposition forces or creating a no-fly zone over the country.
The president ruled out unilateral U.S. action on the conflict earlier this month, saying there “no magic formula” for stemming the bloodshed of the country’s two-year-old civil war.
“I don’t believe his trip puts more pressure on us,” said Palmieri. “All of the options you described are what the administration is considering in terms of how we deal with Syria, and [Secretary of State John Kerry] was in Russia over the weekend discussing the issue with his counterpart there, hoping to have some talks in Geneva about this. We continue to put a lot of thought, a lot of effort into it, and it’s constantly evolving evaluation on our part.”